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PAM SAYS: Aft Facing Dodgers for Fresh Air at Sea or in Port

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I just received a request for information on the aft facing dodgers we have aboard our boat KANDARIK.  They are something we saw aboard a lovely old boat many years ago while anchored in Newport, Rhode Island Harbor, and once we saw them we knew we wanted to have the very same thing.

Why not be able to keep a hatch open at sea and not get any water down below?!  And why not have a hatch that can be left open when at anchor in the rain?!  And why not have a hatch that exhausts hot stuffy air when at anchor or at sea and yet be water proof?!  All these things made the idea of a simple and easy to install aft facing dodger a really great idea to incorporate into our reversing hatches.

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So, here I am, passing on this information, and hoping this great idea we saw on another boat can work for you as well as it does for us crossing oceans, at anchor, or at a dock!

First you must have hatches that can reverse.  This is really something that most hatch manufacturers do not make, but you can find them, or make them as we did.  Have a simple hinge on the forward and aft sides of the hatch, using a Fastpin for the hinge connection.  This makes our hatches easy and quick to reverse whenever we want to.

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Before any passage, or on a rainy day, we can reverse all three of our hatches and quickly install aft facing dodgers.  Here is a list of how to make this work!

Find a way to have a tunnel around the port, forward, and starboard side of your hatch.  We routed this tunnel into the teak hatches, but this is something very special.  However, you can get aluminum or plastic tunnel strips at most canvas shops.  The tubing should be about the same size as the Teflon C-stay tape that is used on the luffs of roller furling genoas that goes up the tracks of the foils on roller furling  sails luffs.

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Then, make a cover out of waterproof Sunbrella that will go three quarters of the way around the hatch (port side, forward side, and starboard side, when the  hatch is open facing aft.  You will only need the tunnel track for those three sides.

Conform your cover to extend well over 8 inches from the aft side of the top of the open aft facing hatch.  This will insure that any stray spray will not fall down into the open hatch, but well beyond the hatch edge down onto the deck.

Then, sew in 3 inch pockets for a batten you can make out of thin plywood covered in resin to keep it waterproof.  It should look like a boomerang, as the pocket will hold the batten along the edge of the hatch and then follow the line of the overhanging 8 inches of material aft of the hatch edge.

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Then when all this fits the hatch, sew on pre-made up luff tape along the bottom of the newly made aft facing dodger and this will be used to thread through the tunnel in the track around the hatch to make sure no water swirling around the deck can get under the hatch dodger and into your cabin.

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I also put plastic windows on the top of these hatch dodgers so we would still have plenty of light coming through the top of the hatches, if in the open position or if when we had to close the hatch leaving the dodgers in place for the next time we could open them.

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This may sound really complicated, but believe me, if I could do it, and I hate sewing, you can do it.  And if one picture is worth a thousand words, take a good look at the photos and see how really simple this is.

I hope this helps you. It is wonderful to have fresh air from our hatches due to these clever aft facing dodgers that someone else had and we copied as best we could.  All great ideas come from others, and Andy and I thank that boat for giving us such a great way to have fresh air below all the time!

-Pam